Visitors to Belize can expect heightened safety measures over the coming months, thanks to a donation from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). With an aim to strengthen the COVID-19 response in emergency management and surveillance at Belize’s points of entry, Belize’s international airport remains as Belize’s only open port of entry in its Travel Reopening Plan. The donation includes three (3) walk-through digital temperature body scanners, 13 HP Elitebook laptops with accessories, five (5) desktop computers, three (3) projectors, eight (8) digital cameras with accessories, 40 Samsung Galaxy tablets, and 34 refillable wall-mounted touchless sanitizer dispensers to the Ministry of Health.
“Strengthening surveillance and increasing capacity to manage emergencies are crucial to implementing public health measures related to the COVID-19 response at the points of entry and communities,” said Dr. Noreen Jack, PAHO/WHO Representative of Belize. “We thank the UK FCDO for collaborating with us to support the Ministry of Health’s surveillance efforts and resources.”
Her Excellency, the British High Commissioner, Ms. Claire Evans, also joined Dr. Jack in presenting the items to the Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, and Epidemiologist, Dr. Russell Manzanero, on behalf of the Ministry of Health. Her Excellency said: “The UK Government is pleased to once again partner with PAHO/WHO in supporting Belize’s efforts in tackling the spread and impact of COVID-19. Helping to strengthen the country’s capacity at the point of entry in detecting COVID-19 remains vital. We also support Belize’s commitment to fortify efforts on maintaining mental health during these challenging times.”
The donated items will enhance existing surveillance systems such as rapid case detection and identification, develop useful interventions for mental health, and increase safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the points of entry. PAHO/WHO Belize continues to collaborate with various donors like the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to help strengthen the country’s COVID-19 response.
“The surveillance system has many different components and is not merely an epidemiological response, so any strengthening of any component of the system enhances the overall health system response,” said Dr. Marvin Manzanero. “We certainly appreciate the donation of these items which will be used in multiple departments to enhance the public health, mental health, clinical and overall epidemiological response as part of the ongoing strengthening of our national response to this pandemic.”
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of its population. Founded in 1902, it is the world’s oldest international public health agency. It serves as the Regional Office of WHO for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American system. For further information, please contact Pete Castillo, PAHO/WHO IT/Communications at [email protected] or Zenena Moguel, PAHO/WHO Communications Consultant at [email protected] or visit paho.org/en/belize.